Aussie PM’s office receives server-fleet upgrade

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is investigating moving to virtual server technologies, say documents

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) in Canberra is upgrading its fleet of more than 50 servers over the next three years.

The role of the PM&C is to provide support to the Prime Minister and to coordinate the development and implementation of government policies. Its information services branch provides ICT services to staff, the PM’s office, and the office of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

The IT environment supports some 450 staff at the ACT head office and a further 50 staff based at the Prime Minister’s offices in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

PM&C’s network connects about 600 desktop PCs and 90 printers and there are 53 servers — 51 Dell servers running Windows Server 2003 and two Sun systems running Solaris. All servers are located in the department’s head office.

An initial order of 10 servers will be placed based on the department’s preferred configuration.

According to departmental documents, the PM&C is investigating moving to virtual server technologies to increase its server infrastructure ROI and to provide for improved test and development environments and recovery from system failure.

PM&C’s software infrastructure includes Exchange 2003, Microsoft ISA Server 2006, Active Directory, Microsoft DNS, Checkpoint VPN, Citrix Metaframe CPS4, and Microsoft Office 2003 on the desktop.

In the application space, PM&C is using SlipStream for “parliamentary correspondence”, Finance1 for financial management, TRIM for records management, the Horizon library management system, and Aurion for HR.

PM&C uses ITIL and PRINCE2 methodologies and is seeking suppliers that can provide a roadmap for the introduction of four CPU, quad-core processors, and 10Gbit/s Ethernet dual copper network ports.

“The server configurations must be capable of running Microsoft Server 2003 and are expected to be Longhorn ready,” according to the department.

PM&C has an existing outsourcing agreement with the ASG Group (Exceed) for IT service desk, desktop, networking, midrange server support, and database administration services. Optus is used for voice and switchboard services, and Macquarie Telecommunications for internet access.

Huge Canberra deals up for grabs

SOME 23 AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL government contracts will be up for grabs when they expire by mid-2009, after eight suppliers mopped up about A$500 million when the controversial outsourcing deals were created in 2005. The outsourcing contracts, worth more than A$600 million (NZ$660 million) per annum, were signed in the late 1990s and will expire over the next two years, according to a government market research firm. Seven contracts will expire this year with a further nine set for tender in 2009.

Judy Hurditch, director of research firm Intermedium, says the close expiry time is because many agencies opposed the outsourcing but were “persuaded” by the then Office of Asset Sales and Information Technology Outsourcing.

“The Office strongly encouraged a number of agencies into outsourcing arrangements despite many protests from agencies,” Hurditch says.

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